Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion & reactivity hazards

Flammable Gas & Vapor Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Chemical Reactivity Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify reactive chemical hazards, including the possibility of material incompatibility, instability, and runaway chemical reactions

DIERS Methodology

Design emergency pressure relief systems to mitigate the consequences of unwanted chemical reactivity and account for two-phase flow using the right tools and methods

Deflagrations (Dust/Vapor/Gas)

Properly size pressure relief vents to protect your processes from dust, vapor, and gas explosions

Effluent Handling

Pressure relief sizing is just the first step and it is critical to safety handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

Thermal Stability

Safe storage or processing requires an understanding of the possible hazards associated with sensitivity to variations in temperature

UN-DOT

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Biological

Model transport of airborne virus aerosols to guide safe operations and ventilation upgrades

Radioactive

Model transport of contamination for source term and leak path factor analysis

Fire Analysis

Model transport of heat and smoke for fire analysis

Flammable or Toxic Gas

transport of flammable or toxic gas during a process upset

OSS consulting, adiabatic & reaction calorimetry and consulting

Onsite safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical

Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid flow, electric power systems

Battery Safety

Testing to support safe design of batteries and electrical power backup facilities particularly to satisfy UL9540a ed.4

Hydrogen Safety

Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen

Spent Fuel

Safety analysis for packaging, transport, and storage of spent nuclear fuel

Decommissioning, Decontamination and Remediation (DD&R)

Safety analysis to underpin decommissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials

Laboratory Testing & Software Capabilities

Bespoke testing and modeling services to validate analysis of DD&R processes

Nuclear Overview

Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant.

Severe Accident Analysis and Risk Assessment

Expert analysis of possible risk and consequences from nuclear plant accidents

Thermal Hydraulics

Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions

Environmental Qualification (EQ) and Equipment Survivability (ES)

Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions

Laboratory Testing & Software Capabilities

Testing and modeling services to support resolution of emergent safety issues at a power plant

Adiabatic safety calorimeters (ARSST and VSP2)

Low thermal inertial adiabatic calorimeters specially designed to provide directly scalable data that are critical to safe process design

Other Lab Equipment (DSC/ARC supplies, CPA, C80, Super Stirrer)

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory

FERST

Software for emergency relief system design to ensure safe processing of reactive chemicals, including consideration of two-phase flow and runaway chemical reactions

FATE

Facility modeling software mechanistically tracks transport of heat, gasses, vapors, and aerosols for safety analysis of multi-room facilities

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Recent Posts

Safety: It's More Than Compliance

Posted by Harry J. Elston, Ph.D. on 02.20.18

 By Harry J. Elston, Ph.D., CIH, consultant to Fauske & Associates, LLC

There are many organizations that are compliance-driven. They think that if they are compliant with OSHA regulations then their organizations are working safely. This thinking is not necessarily true.

"Corporate compliance with regulations does not equate to corporate safety."

Don’t misunderstand me. Compliance with regulations is important, but corporate compliance with regulations does not equate to corporate safety. I know of, and have worked for, a number of organizations that have been subjected to OSHA Compliance visits with the accompanying fines and they are naturally afraid of the cost for regulatory non-compliance. Likewise, I am also aware of corporations who view regulatory fines as a “cost of doing business.”

Chemical Process Safety and MAAP Services at Fauske & Associates
 

Let me provide a non-chemical example of how compliance does not equate to safety. The RMS Titanic was fully compliant with all applicable engineering and safety regulations at the time of her construction. And yet, she now lies silent at the bottom of the ocean. Compliance did not spare over 1500 passengers from their deaths.

Here are a couple of reasons why compliance does not equal safety:

• Regulations cannot keep pace with best practices: Technology will always outpace the regulatory landscape. For a concrete example of this, OSHA has yet to incorporate “inherently safer technology” (IST) into the Process Safety Management standard (29CFR1910.119) although IST is part of a 2014 report to the Obama Administration and the following Executive Order 13650. Regulations are changed through a lengthy political process and can stagnate, while best practices can be flexibly executed at the corporate level.

• Regulations generally focus on hazard, not risk: Hazard identification is generally pretty easy: Unguarded saws are easily spotted. However, an unguarded saw that is (1) dedicated to a single process by a written administrative control and high-level operator supervision and (2) has numerous jigs hanging next to it for those processes looks just like any other unguarded saw and may incur a “serious” –level OSHA violation, even though the risk may be sufficiently managed and the process may be deemed “safe” for the operator. From a laboratory-scale chemical safety perspective, hazards associated with reactive chemicals or reactive chemistry (highly exothermic processes), though very real, are simply not addressed by the Laboratory Standard. Risk is certainly not addressed by the Laboratory Standard.

Risk is the combination of the probability of a consequence occurring and the severity of that consequence. Risk is reduced by reducing the probability of an incident and/or reducing the severity. While hazard abatement is an important part of risk reduction, it is not the only part. Since regulatory compliance is often hazard-based, other important aspects of overall risk reduction can be missed or neglected, such as incorporating work practices to reduce injury severity as a result of an incident. An example would be including polycarbonate shielding in addition to a laboratory chemical hood for reactive chemical processes in order to prevent or reduce injury in the event of a run-away reaction.

I’ve seen far too many organizations that focus on compliance are still experiencing worker injuries that are costing them thousands per year in dollars and non-production. Moving to a risk-centric safety system often results in reduced workplace injury while simultaneously obtaining regulatory compliance.

Dr. Elston is a physical chemist and a Certified Industrial Hygienist and is the Principal and senior scientist at Midwest Chemical Safety, LLC. He is a consultant with Fauske & Associates, LLC. He can be contacted at helston@midwestchemsafety.com or 217-971-6047. For more information regarding Process Safety Management or Risk assessements, please contact Kris Fauske at 620-887-5224, kfauske@fauske.com.

FAI Process Safety Newsletter

Topics: process safety, risk assessment, risk analysis

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